VoIP -- Voice over IP -- You are able to place phone calls over the Internet to any phone in the world. The phone you are calling does not need to have VoIP. Generally the cost of using VoIP is less than your local telephone company, and you can keep your existing phone number or pick a new one with an area code anywhere in your country. Prices may vary.
- Get a VoIP phone adapter - you cannot use an ordinary (PSTN) phone unless it specifically mentions VoIP or Skype. So to use analog phone as VoIP phone, you need to connect that phone to VoIP adapter.
- The VoIP company you obtain your phone adapter from should send you instructions on how to hook it up. Some phone adapters are intended to go between the cable modem and your router or computer, while others must be plugged into a router that you supply. Follow the instructions provided.
- Connect a telephone to the LINE 1 port of the phone adaptor using a standard phone line.
- Power on your phone adapter by plugging in the power cord to the back of the adapter and the plug into the wall outlet. You should leave this plugged in at all times to maintain your phone service.
- Wait a couple minutes while your phone adaptor starts up.
- There may be updates that need to be downloaded, such as new firmware or changes to your features. These will be downloaded automatically. Do not interrupt this process by unplugging the power to the phone adapter or ISP supplied modem.
- Pick up your telephone receiver and listen for a dial tone. If you hear a dial tone, you have finished the installation and can begin making calls.
VideoLearn how to setup VoIP at your home using IPvaani Free VoIP Calling Service
- If you want a VoIP which works without your PC running, choose a WiFi enabled VoIP phone or one which will plug directly into your router.
- You can use dial-up internet for VoIP but broadband is recommended.
- Your computer does not need to be turned on to use your phone service.
- If you plug the VoIP adapter directly into your broadband modem, then you will want to power down the modem prior to initially connecting the VoIP adapter. After making the connections, power up the modem first, wait a minute for so for it to stabilize, then power up the VoIP adapter. On the other hand, if the VoIP adapter plugs into your router, then it should not be necessary to power down the modem or router prior to connecting the VoIP adapter (unless the instructions supplied by your VoIP provider state otherwise).
- Should your VoIP service ever stop working (if, for example, you do not get a dial tone), first check to make sure that your broadband connection is still working (use your web browser and try going to your VoIP provider's web site). If that seems to be working normally, try unplugging your VoIP adapter for about 30 seconds, then reapplying power. Then wait a minute or two (in case it has to download new settings or firmware) and try again. Often a power-down reset of the VoIP adapter will fix the problem.
- Many VoIP service companies offer great features like caller ID, call forwarding, conference calling, and having your voice mail emailed to you. Some companies offer more or different features than others, so check to see if the company you are considering offers any features you need.
- Companies like IPvaani (www.ipvaani.com) USA Datanet, VoicePulse and Vonage let you choose a second or third virtual phone number, at an additional monthly charge. This phone number can be anywhere in the country that the VoIP provider offers numbers (a few providers can even offer virtual numbers in other countries). If you live on the east coast and have friends and family that live on the west coast, you can choose a virtual phone number with a west coast area code. That way your friends can call you and it's only a local call for them.
- If your upload speed (as supplied by your ISP) is less than 256K, you may not be able to use three way calling successfully, nor more than one line simultaneously. Some companies offer a "bandwidth saver" feature that can be important in situations where the upload speed is limited. The bandwidth saver features allows calls to use less bandwidth, at the expense of a little bit of call fidelity (often not noticeable to most people).
- It is suggested that you plug your modem, your router, and your VoIP adapter into a single Uninterruptible Power Supply that is not used for any other purpose (not used to power any computers). This may allow you to have working VoIP service for a longer period during a power outage, assuming that your broadband service is still working.
- If you want to replace your existing wire-line telephone service, you can use your home telephone wiring to extend your VoIP service throughout your home, although some VoIP companies may not recommend this. But, you must first completely disconnect your inside telephone wiring from the telephone company's cable coming into your home. Instructions for doing that (as well as information on other subjects related to replacing traditional wireline service with VoIP, such as issues with alarm systems and home entertainment devices that are connected to the phone line.
- Some VoIP service companies require you to explicitly turn on 911 service, they don't do it automatically. Check with the company to make sure you will have 911 service.
- In the event of a power failure or an interruption in your broadband service, you will lose the use of your VoIP service for the duration of the service outage. You may be able to avoid an interruption during a power failure by using an uninterruptible power supply, provided that your broadband provider's equipment is also protected against power failures.
- Should you attempt to connect your VoIP service to your home's inside telephone wiring, you must first completely disconnect your inside wiring from the telephone company's cable coming into your home. Failure to do this will damage your VoIP adapter, and for that reason some VoIP companies do not recommend connecting your VoIP service to your inside wiring.
- A few unscrupulous VoIP companies advertise an "unlimited" service tier, but in reality they will cut off service to what they consider to be "high usage" customers, or will force them to move to a more expensive class of service. If you are considering signing up for "unlimited" service and think you may fall into the "high usage" category, read the company's terms and conditions carefully, and read reviews of that company online to see if other customers have experienced problems.
- When comparing prices of VoIP providers, note that some companies charge a "regulatory recovery fee." This fee is NOT mandated by any government agency and therefore is simply a mechanism they use to make their advertised price lower than the actual price that you will pay if you sign up. You may want to ask the provider what your actual monthly billing will be before you sign up.
- Any phone connection such as Vonage that goes through the cable connection, does not connect to any 911 police emergency. In an emergency, you may not get immediate response for your emergency. It is not advisable to only have a cable connected telephone as your only phone system in the house.
Things You'll Need
- A Wireline
- A Telephone
- A UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply)
- A VoIP Phone adapter with Service
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Sources and Citations
- How To Setup Voip